Position of women in India, past and present!

Many evil social practices like the practice of prepuberty marriages, denial of right of women to education and also to mate selection etc were imposed on women during the periods of Brahmans and Purana

Position of Women in India in the Buddhist Period!

In the Buddhist period, the position of women improved to some extent. In the religious field, women came to occupy a distinctly superior place. They had their own Sangha called Bhikshuni ‘Sangha’, which provided avenues of cultural activities and social services. They got ample opportunities in public life. However, their economic status remained struggling in deprivation and hardship.

Position of Women in Medieval Period!
According to ancient Hindu texts and tradition until about 500 B.C. women in India enjoyed considerable freedom. But during the next thousand years, women’s position gradually deteriorated. Educational and religious parity and rights were denied to them and widow remarriage was forbidden.

In fact, the status of women started degenerating ftom the post-Vedic age because of the conception of purity and pollution and restrictions of inter-caste marriages. Child marriage had started in the Smriti age. During this period, a woman’s husband was regarded as God. During the middle ages, the position of women in Hindu society further degenerated. Islamic invasions in India made a considerable change in the position of women in India.

The first Muslim invasion took place in India in the eighth century. During this period, the Hindu society was engaged in resurrection under the leadership of Sankaracharya with an attempt to face the expansion of Buddhism. Sankaracharya re- emphasised the supremacy of Vedas to counter the spread of Buddhism because the Vedas had given a status of equality to women.

India experienced a second Muslim invasion in the eleventh century when Mohammad Ghazni conquered India. From this period till the middle of the eighteenth century untill the British rule was established in the country the breakdown of social institutions, the vast migration of people and the economic depression in the country contributed to a general decline of social and cultural life influenced mostly the women in India.

With the application of the Islamic culture ‘Purdah’ system was followed which resulted in seclusion of women. Education of women in whatever form came to be stopped. Child marriage was started. During this period the inhuman practice of ‘Sati Pratha'(Burning of bride with the dead body of the groom) was in vogue. Killing girl child, unrestricted polygamy were the main sources of social evils of this period.

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